Sunday, September 26, 2010

Video game number two hundred and eighty one: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by sleep

Video game review number two hundred and eighty one in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by sleep"

According to Penny Arcade and many other gaming sites, the release of this game was a pretty big deal. For years, I've been hearing about these Kingdom Hearts games, and I've always wanted to try one. I don't normally like RPGs (that's probably why I've never tried a Kingdom Hearts game before now)...but if there was an RPG property I was going to try, this series would be it.

Unfortunately, either I've picked the wrong title...or I was wrong to want to try this in the first place. I played for over an hour, and in that time, I never had any idea what the shit was going on.

The story in this game makes absolutely no sense, and I had no idea who any of the characters were. The basic experience of the game is like this:

A long cinematic cut scene, featuring a bunch of nonsense dialog...followed by a 15 second black loading screen, and then yet ANOTHER cut scene. Every ten minutes or so, you actually get to play. The gameplay is only "Ok". Combat is responsive, but the menus are confusing. There were about 470 different slots that looked like I'd have to equip powers, weapons and character attributes to. Hitting X to kill things was ok, but those menus were scary as hell.

I pressed on.

I am pretty sure the first mission in the game had something to do with the main character going to watch a meteor shower. On the way, you had to fight some inanimate objects and then you find a few of your friends. You have a silly conversation with your friends (I'm new to the series, so this made absolutely no sense to me)...and then for some reason, you fight them. I think it's supposed to be a tutorial, but even after they've taught you the basic moves...the fights keep going for another 10 or 15 minutes. It's just asinine.

By this point, I was getting really sick of the nonsense cut scenes and the insanely long black loading I started skipping the cinematics hoping to speed the game up. I'm not sure I ever saw the meteor shower I was fighting my way to. That sucked. Eventually, I saw a cut scene with Mickey Mouse talking to a wizard for some reason. I had skipped a couple of scenes, so I had no idea why Mickey was in my world, or how we knew each other....but he was suddenly gone, and I was back to fighting with my friends again.

Eventually...I gave up completely. I couldn't make sense of the plot...perhaps because I've never played a Kingdom Hearts game, or perhaps it was because the game makes no sense. The combat wasn't worth waiting ten minutes at a time for, and the graphics were only ho-hum. While I realize this could be a great sequel for people who love the a noob to the game world (and someone who's not a fan of RPGs)...I hated it.

Overall Score? 1/10. One of the worst games I've played so far this year. I may still try another Kingdom Hearts game again someday (I'll ask a fan which one to try first)...but if it's anything like this game, I've got a feeling I'm probably not going to be a fan.

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